UKZN Co-hosts QS WorldClass Seminar

UKZN Co-hosts QS WorldClass Seminar
Professor Deogratius Jaganyi.

University leaders from around the world met to discuss Higher Education trends as well as expand their global connections at the 7th QS WorldClass Seminar in Johannesburg co-hosted by UKZN and QS Asia. 

The Seminar aimed to offer universities strategic advice on how to meet the increasing need to boost global recognition and sharpen their competitive edge.

The Seminar attracted university leadership from a large number of international universities in regions including South Africa, Africa, Asia, India, United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. 

The welcome address was delivered by UKZN’s Professor Deogratius Jaganyi on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

UKZN was also represented by the Executive Director – Corporate Relations Division Mr Lesiba Seshoka, the Registrar Mr Convy Baloyi and Professor Jane Meyerowitz of Special Projects.

The keynote address was delivered by Director: University Teaching and Learning Development, Department of Higher Education  and Training in South Africa, Professor Nan Yeld.

The main topic for debate was: “Universities Do More Harm than Good when they Produce More Graduates than there are Graduate-Level Jobs”.

It was argued that Higher Education enriched the mind and was not only about being employable.  There was also an argument that the quality of graduates produced was more important than the quantity and the types of graduates produced should have transferrable generic skills.

There was agreement that graduates should go out and educate their community and thereby create a better life-style, and be able to create employment rather than look for it.

Consensus was reached that universities were not ‘doing more harm than good by producing more graduates than graduate-level jobs’.

-          Shakila Thakurpersad

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Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture at UKZN

Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture at UKZN
Professor John de Gruchy (front, third right) with SRPC staff at the third Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture.

The University of Cape Town’s Professor John de Gruchy presented the third annual Steve de Gruchy Memorial Lecture focusing on the church as an agent of peace.

The Lecture was hosted by the School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics (SRPC) and titled: “Poo-Protests and Olive Theology”.

De Gruchy, father of the late Professor Steve de Gruchy who died in a boating accident in the Mooi River in 2010, suggested that it was both an appropriate and contested topic. ‘It is appropriate because it was a subject of concern for Steve ever since, in his late teens, he became aware of the peace-making imperative of the Christian faith. This led him to becoming a conscientious objector and informed much of his life. The topic is also appropriate because we live in a violent era in global history.’

Referring to the South African situation with the high number of crimes against humanity and the fears of violent outbreaks as the struggle for power escalates during the run-up to the 2014 general election, de Gruchy said: ‘The role of the church as an agent of peace in association with other religious organisations and institutions should not simply be an academic exercise. It is an important topic that requires critical reflection informed by all the knowledge and wisdom we can muster,’ he said

‘In this regard, it is important for religious organisations, and especially for the church, to critically reflect on the peace agency, and also how this relates to reconciliation.’

He said Steve’s mission was to represent the struggles of the weak and to seek peace, justice and reconciliation – of which the olive branch was a metaphor.

A recent example was the “poo-protests” in the Cape. Resonating with a lecture by Steve on the connection between “sewerage” and theology that sides with the weak and marginalised, this incident took place in the context of a lack of toilet systems for the poor.

He added that Steve recognised that these problems did not only confront governments, city councils, engineers, health workers and town planners; they also challenged theologians and were of critical importance for the witness of the church. The outcome, for Steve, was his work on what he called an “olive theology”.

De Gruchy said: ‘If the church is to be an agent of peace in a violent world it has to learn how to counter the power-hungry greed of the one hand, and enable the birthing and fulfilment of the promise of peace of the other. But in doing so it will often find itself in the uncomfortable position between the rock of those who protest, sometimes violently, and the hard place of those who maintain law and order.

‘It will be confronted by the unsettling question of “whose peace” we are talking about, protecting or advocating. The theological answer is the peace that God gives, i.e. where justice and peace embrace each other. This peace is God’s will of justice for the world, and therefore God’s gift which makes life possible for humans and the whole of creation. In this regard, the church is called to speak truth to power. And if the church wants to speak truth to power, the church has to listen to the powerless.’

He pointed out that churches beyond the borders of informal settlements needed to be more aware of the inhumane conditions in which people were forced to live by circumstances beyond their control.

‘They have to look and listen carefully before speaking, or assuming that they can speak, and listen not least to the church communities that are present in informal settlements. Only then has the church the right to be critical of protest actions that are misguided, turn violent and become counter-productive. And only then can the church become a peace-maker in situations of conflict.’

He further highlighted that to be an agent of peace the church needed to develop ways and means to educate its members and clergy to be disciples who were peace-makers, and could therefore as Jesus said, truly be ‘called the children of God’(Matthew 5:9).

-           Melissa Mungroo

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Umhlangano Wokubhekisisa Amatemu Emidwebozakhiwo

Umhlangano Wokubhekisisa Amatemu Emidwebozakhiwo
USolwazi Franco Frescura noNksz Joyce Myeza nabebebambe iqhaza emhlanganweni.

IHhovisi leNyuvesi lokuHlelwa nokuThuthukiswa koLimi (ULPDO) belibambe umhlangano wokubhekisisa amatemu esiZulu eMkhakheni wezeMidwebozakhiwo.

Ukuthuthukiswa kwamatemu kuyingxenye yezinto ezibalulekile ezenziwa yi-ULPDO ekuthuthukisweni kolimi lwesiZulu ukuze lube ulimi lokufunda. Lokhu kuhambelana nomgomo wolimi wase-UKZN ohlose ukukhuphula izinga nokusetshenziswa kwesiZulu njengolimi lokuphatha nokufunda lweNyuvesi.

Lo mhlangano wezinsuku ezimbili ubuthanyelwe abamele UMnyango WezobuCiko namaSiko, uMasipala weTheku, osomatemu, abakhizichazamazwi, ongoti bezolimi, uPanSALB, ongoti besifundo semidwebozakhiwo, abafundi abaneziqu baseDUT naseUKZN nabasebenzi baseULPDO.

USolwazi Franco Frescura noNksz Joyce Myeza abebemele uMkhakha wezeMidwebozakhiwo banikeze izincazelo ezinzulu ngamatemu esiNgisi lapho bebebuye basebenzise izithombe kanye nemidwebo ukucacisela umhlangano ukuze ukwazi ukuthola amatemu esiZulu afanele.

Umhlangano bewunomthwalo wokuqhamuka namatemu esiZulu aqondene ngqo nawesiNgisi kanti i-ULPDO beyibhekene nokuqopha ngokucophelela wonke amatemu ekuvunyelwana ngawo. Ekupheleni komhlangano besekudingidwe kwaphinde kwavunyelwana ngamatemu esiZulu angama 215.

Isinyathelo esilandelayo kuzoba ukuhambisa la matemu ukuyohlolwa uMzukazwe okuyiBhodi kaZwelonke yoLimi futhi eyikomidi elisemthethweni elibhekene nokuwaqinisekisa.

Click here for English version

-        Dkt Langa Khumalo

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Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives Celebrates 25th Anniversary
The Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives’ 25th anniversary cake.

The Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives (APC) on the Pietermaritzburg campus celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The APC was officially opened on 25 April 1989 by the then University of Natal Vice-Principal, Professor Colin Webb.

In his address, Webb summed up the aims of the Centre saying: ‘The intention is to build up around the core donation from Mrs Anne Paton a study and research centre devoted to the literature and politics of intergroup conciliation – two of the deepest concerns of Alan Paton’s life.  The APC is a facility for the living, an instrument for carrying forward the struggle for improved human relations that filled so much of Paton’s essentially human life.’

A celebratory function to mark the anniversary was held recently in the Leeb-du Toit Council Chambers. 

Born in Pietermaritzburg in 1903, Alan Stewart Paton was an author, educationist, politician and a humanitarian. He studied at the then University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, taking BSc and BEd degrees. 

Paton was an educator for 12 years, including a post in the Ixopo district which would later be so movingly described in the opening pages of his internationally acclaimed novel, Cry, the Beloved Country.

 In 1936, Paton became Principal of the Diepkloof Reformatory for African Juvenile Delinquents, and it was only in 1948, after the international success of his famous novel, that he attempted writing as a full-time career. 

After a few years, however, the conflict between literature and the need for more direct action in a land filled with injustice led him into politics.  He was a founder member of the Liberal Party and remained its President until it was disbanded in 1968 in the face of repressive new legislation forbidding multi-racial political organisations.

Paton died in 1989 and shortly after his death, his widow Mrs Anne Paton made available a large part of the contents of Paton’s study for the establishment of a permanent memorial to him.  The rich core donations included Paton’s manuscripts of his poetry and short stories, his correspondence; and material from the archives of the Liberal Party Head Office in Pietermaritzburg. 

Added to this were the documents of organisations which were involved in the struggle against apartheid in the Natal Midlands, such as the Black Sash; the Detainees Aid Committee and the Five Freedoms Forum.  Individuals involved in the struggle, such as Peter Brown, John Aitchison, Harry Gwala, Chota Motala, Randolg Vigne, have also donated their papers to the Centre. 

-       Nazim Gani

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ccrri hosts Teachers at Steve Biko Education Debate

ccrri hosts Teachers at Steve Biko Education Debate
High school teachers at a ccrri meeting on the Biko Education and Gender-based violence projects.

The Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) recently hosted a discussion forum with high school teachers on the Steve Biko Education and Gender-Based Violence projects.

ccrri Director Professor Rozena Maart convened the meeting in an effort to ensure the Steve Biko element and gender-based violence issues are addressed and taught at high schools based on collaborative efforts, up-to-date research, and with strong reliance from the UKZN student researchers who were also in attendance.

Speaking at the meeting, Maart said: ‘The Steve Biko element must be taught effectively at schools; we must look at transformation and address post-apartheid. We should be teaching our students issues which reflect our past at high school level and facilitate the process when they come to our University.’

Professor Maart said funding the ccrri received from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation advanced and further developed the process of post-apartheid education through the Biko Education Project.

‘Our objective is to recognise and educate our high school students on the teachings of Steve Biko within subjects such as Life Orientation (LO) and History and to give our UKZN students the opportunity to participate in this process. We should also be further equipping our students on gender-based violence within what we teach, which is crucial,’ said Maart.

‘Students should be made aware that gender-based violence doesn’t only affect young women but young men too. It is imperative to start this at high schools because it is education that feeds the nation,’ said Maart.

During the discussion, teachers revealed that many of their students didn’t know who Biko was and were unaware of important issues pertaining to his life, his philosophy and his ideas, much the same with gender-based violence. Student researchers who work with ccrri are actively addressing these areas and participating in this programme whereby they address the link between high schools and university.

A Grade 12 history teacher at Ingqungqulu High School, Ms Zondile Ngqoba, said, ‘It is truly inspiring to teach the students about Steve Biko but we need to find more interesting ways to teach our students about this great man. For students, learning history with the same narrative and question and answer methods doesn’t excite them.

‘We often use the prescribed textbooks to teach and with the help of the ccrri and their work with the Biko Education project, we hope we can make more students aware of Biko’s contribution to the liberation struggle.’

Towards the end of the meeting, Maart said the Centre planned to assist these schools by offering the teachers CDs, DVDs and other pedagogical material the research groups at the Centre were working on.

She pointed out that bridging the gap between high school learners and university students was one of the objectives of the Biko Education Project. 

Maart is also tackling the language barrier by making material accessible in isiZulu and English.

A follow-up meeting with UKZN student researchers and High School teachers takes place on Friday, May 16th, and will involve Professor Barney Pityana, Professor Mabogo More and Ms Usha Moodley.

 -   Melissa Mungroo

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Supreme Court of Appeal Deputy President Speaks at Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Lecture

Supreme Court of Appeal Deputy President Speaks at Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Lecture
The Honourable Mr Justice Kenneth Mthiyane with Professor Managay Reddi.

Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the Honourable Mr Justice Kenneth Mthiyane reflected on the contribution made by struggle icons Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge to the promotion of access to justice, in an address at UKZN.

Mthiyane was speaking at the 12th annual Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge Memorial Lecture and School of Law Students Awards Ceremony at the Howard College campus. The annual Lecture commemorates the significant role the Mxenges – who were both lawyers – played in the liberation struggle.

Dean and Head: School of Law at UKZN, Professor Managay Reddi, hailed the Lecture as the annual highlight in the University’s Law calendar saying it saluted the ideals of access to justice and the protection of human rights that the Mxenges died for.

Introducing Mthiyane - UKZN Alumnus and retired judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa -the Honourable Mr Justice Zakeria (Zak) Yacoob told of how Mthiyane had worked alongside the Mxenges in contributing to South Africa’s legal history.

‘What stands out for me about K.K. (Mthiyane) is his humanity and willingness to sacrifice his life for his country. He worked together with Griffiths for many years and they were prepared to die for democracy,’ he said.

Mthiyane encouraged Law graduates to use the knowledge they acquired from their Law degree as a tool to fight for justice and to bring about social change in their communities.

‘Griffiths and Victoria saw it as their duty to ensure that our people had unimpeded access to the court. They lived for justice and freedom and devoted all their lives to achieving a better life for the people they served. To them justice and freedom were inseparable. Such was the contribution made by the Mxenges in empowering people. We are richer for it and are basking in the glory of the legacy they left for us,’ he said.

Mthiyane said it was an honour to deliver the Lecture which over the past decade had been presented by legal icons including Nelson Mandela.

-   Thandiwe Jumo

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AES College Celebrates Achievements of Top Students

AES College Celebrates Achievements of Top Students
High achieving students in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science celebrate their success.

UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science recognised its top achieving students at two awards ceremonies held over the 2014 Graduation period. 

About 400 staff, students, proud parents and industry sponsors attended the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campus celebrations to witness students from all five Schools in the College receive recognition for their hard work and achievement.

The School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) was proud to acknowledge the successes of 29 of its students.

Several new awards were on offer providing opportunities for students who previously may not have been individually recognised.

Kwanalu, Pannar, Golder Associates, the Citrus Growers’ Association, Lima, Jeffares and Green, Campbell Scientific and Standard Bank, among other sponsors, presented awards to deserving students.

Top students from the Schools of Chemistry and Physics; Life Sciences; and Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science were also recognised, receiving generous awards from a variety of different industrial and institutional sponsors.

A new award was presented by Dr Betty Govinden in memory of her late husband, Herby Govinden, who was a past Lecturer at the former University of Durban-Westville.

‘These students are the pool from which we draw our future PhD candidates,’ said Professor Deo Jaganyi, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College.  ‘We thank their lecturers and parents for the support that they give them, we celebrate their success, and we encourage them to continue with their studies.’

-  Sally Frost

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High Voltage Direct Current Centre Hosts Seminar with Fukuoka University

High Voltage Direct Current Centre Hosts Seminar with Fukuoka University
UKZN’s High Voltage Direct Current Centre co-hosted a seminar with academics from Japan’s Fukuoka University promoting Inter-University Collaborative Education.

The High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Centre within the School of Engineering hosted a Seminar at the Smart Grid Centre on Promoting Inter-University Collaborative Education.

The Seminar, co-ordinated by the newly-appointed HVDC Director, Dr Inno Davidson, was arranged as part of a visit to UKZN by three guest professors from the Fukuoka University in Japan - Professor Kiyoto Nishijima, Associate Professor Teruhiko Kohama and Assistant Professor Takao Matsumoto.

Dean and Head of School for Engineering, Professor Cristina Trois, welcomed the group which included academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students and industrial partners, giving them an insight into the South African education system and UKZN’s School of Engineering.

Nishijima presented his work titled: “A study of Gas Discharge Physics, describing the post-quake situation - the Eastern Japan Great Earthquake occurred on 11 March 2011 - of the Japanese electric power scene”.

The current research topics of the high-voltage laboratory at Fukuoka University such as plasma diagnostics using an ultra-fast ICCD camera and a high-resolution spectroscope were introduced. This was followed by an informative video on lightning which had been part of a national Japanese television show.

Both Kohama and Matsumoto gave explanatory summaries for their research work followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

The Japanese academics have researched high-voltage engineering from the view point of discharge physics in order to prevent corona discharge and sparkover in high-voltage equipment in order to develop efficient plasma applications.

Discipline Leader, Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at UKZN, Professor Thomas Afullo, delighted the guests by greeting them in Japanese.

Afullo presented on the opportunities for building research capacity at UKZN’s School of Engineering saying: ‘We consider the visit by Professor Nishijima and his colleagues to be an opportunity to collaborate, not only with the Electrical Engineering or High Voltage researchers at Fukuoka University but also with the Electronic and Computer Engineering researchers.’

A vote of thanks was given by Dr Leigh Jarvis who gave guests mementos from the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.

The closing remarks were made by the Director of HVDC Centre,  Dr Davidson: ‘This meeting highlights the value of team-work, co-operation and the potential of collaboration with fellow researchers and industry-leaders internationally, to add value, share knowledge and stimulate new ideas for both staff and students.

-          Leena Rajpal


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Industrial Crop Production Class Visits Illovo Eston Mill

Industrial Crop Production Class Visits Illovo Eston Mill
The 2014 Industrial Crop Production Class with their tour guides.

The Industrial Crop Production class doing their BSc Agric honours on the Pietermaritzburg campus visited the Illovo Eston Mill where they saw first hand steps involved in processing sugar from the time the cane is delivered to when the final product is produced.  

Sugarcane - one of the many industrial crops studied by Crop Science students in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) - is also one of the most vital crops to the agricultural industry in KwaZulu-Natal.  As Plant Production scientists, students have to be able to explain and implement the concept that an economically viable crop yield and quality depend mainly on climate, soil and management. This success has to be based on sustainable practices on the farm and in the processing plant, of which the Illovo Sugar Mill is an excellent example.

At the Illovo Sugar Mill, students were exposed to detailed steps involved in processing sugar from the time cane is delivered to the time the final product is produced. It was made clear that sugar production, from the farm to the firm, requires a lot of water and energy, with the emphasis on avoiding waste at all costs.

The major by-products of sugarcane processing are bagasse and molasses. The primary use of bagasse and bagasse residue is for fuel for the boilers in the generation of process steam in sugar plants. It is also used for production of paper, paperboard products and reconstituted panel board as well as agricultural mulch and as a raw material for the production of chemicals. Dried filter cake is used as an animal feed supplement, fertiliser and source of sugarcane wax. Molasses can be used to produce many feed products as well as alcohol.

The students said the trip helped them to better understand the section on sugarcane in the Industrial Crop Production module and opened their eyes to the intricate relationships between agriculture and other disciplines of learning at university, such as Chemistry and Economics.

UKZN’s Professor Albert Modi said the Illovo Eston Mill should be considered a true Friend of UKZN Agriculture.

-   Christine Cuénod

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UKZN – SAICA Students Awards Ceremony

UKZN – SAICA Students Awards Ceremony
Dean and Head of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Professor Anesh Singh, with top achievers Mr Zaid Ebrahim and Ms Tarisha Nandcoomar.

The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently hosted an awards ceremony in partnership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to celebrate the academic excellence of its students in 2013. Prizes and certificates were awarded to the top students on the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses as well as the top overall student on both campuses. The event was sponsored by ABSA Bank.

The annual event, held on the Westville campus, recognises and rewards outstanding students within the Accounting discipline and also provides an opportunity for accounting firms to interact with students to discuss employment opportunities

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor John Mubangizi, addressed students and parents on how UKZN continued to achieve excellence through the quality of its graduates and the quality of the programmes it offered.

Mubangizi also highlighted how the University maintained its accreditation with external bodies such as SAICA based on the outstanding quality of the professional degrees.

He said aspirant Chartered Accountants from UKZN achieved an outstanding 92% pass rate in the SAICA Initial Test of Competence (ITC) Exam - way above the national average pass rate of 81%.

‘As we celebrate the achievements of our students, we are looking to them to be our ambassadors and clear the negative perception that has been created by baseless rumours that our accounting programmes are not accredited by SAICA. Achieving such a high pass rate in the ITC exam which puts us joint fourth in the country is testimony to our excellence,’ said Mubangizi.

The Dean and Head of the School, Professor Anesh Singh, reminded students that the ceremony was not only about celebrating but was an opportunity to recognise the hard work of parents and academics in ensuring that students got personal and academic support which was crucial for their academic success. Singh encouraged students to think about a career in academia and thus share their success with future generations.

The Co-ordinator of the Accounting Programmes, UKZN academic Professor Philip Stegen, echoed Singh’s sentiments and applauded the academics for always going the extra mile to provide students with quality education which produced such wonderful results.

Speaking on behalf of SAICA, the Deputy President of the SAICA Eastern Region, Ms Thando Radebe, emphasised the importance of pursuing a career in Chartered Accountancy, partnerships in developing the accounting profession and using this career to develop others.

‘You are now SAICA members and we look to you to expand our profession and to train and develop young talent. I am excited to see so many young women in the audience. Our profession is one that accommodates women because life is all about pursuing passion - and you get paid for it,’ she said.

Ms Jyoti Maharaj was named as the Top overall first year student and the Top Accounting 101 and 102 student on the Westville campus. Maharaj is also the recipient of the Pius Langa Scholarship.

Mr Julian Vorster was recognised as the Top Accounting 101 and 102 student on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

The overall Top second year student award went to Ms Fathima Mahomed who also won the Top overall Auditing 200 prize as well as the Top Westville student in MAF 200 award. Further top achiever prizes were awarded to Ms Justine Lindsay (overall Top Accounting 200), Mr Kemen Naidoo (Top Pietermaritzburg Auditing 200)  and Mr Yusuf Vawda who was the Top overall MAF 200 student.

Top achievers for third year were summa cum laude graduate Mr Thivesan Govender who scooped the awards for the overall top student, Top Tax 300 overall and Top Maf 300 overall student. Top achiever prizes also went to Mr Robert Pienaar (Top PMB Accounting 300), Mr Troy Halliday (Top overall Accounting 300), Ms Joann Naicker (Top PMB Auditing 300), Mr Naeem Shaik Yassim (Top PMB Tax 300) and Ms Shefali Daya the Top overall Auditing 300 student.

In fourth year, the overall achiever award went to Mr Zaid Ebrahim who also received the Top Advanced Accounting award for the Westville campus and the Walter Fairburn prize sponsored by SAICA. Other top achievers were Ms Vinolin Naidoo (Top PMB Advanced Accounting), Ms Nobuhle Sibisi (Top PMB Advanced Auditing), Mr Michael Stead and Ms Haseena Latif (Top overall Advanced Auditing), Mr Dietmar Paul (Top overall Advanced Tax), Mr Daleshan Naidoo (Top overall Advanced MAF) and Ms Tarisha Nandcoomar of the Pietermaritzburg campus (Top PMB Advanced MAF and Tax), who has also received awards annually throughout her four-year academic career.

Prizes were sponsored by SAICA and accounting firms Grant Thornton, PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY. ABSA which sponsored the event utilised the awards ceremony to engage with students on employment opportunities.

-   Thandiwe Jumo 

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Keeping UKZN in Touch

Keeping UKZN in Touch
The Registry Department with the Registrar, Mr Convy Baloyi (front, third from right).

The Department of Registry is committed to providing a fast, efficient and secure postal service to the University community.

Registry Manager Ms Tammy Frankland says the 26 members of staff placed across the University’s five campuses have contributed immensely to the Department’s success.

Frankland lists the following as Registry’s greatest achievements to date:

•  Automation in 2007: Registry introduced a fully computerised, bar-coded system allowing thousands of users to log on, register and track their mail. This system has increased accountability by 96%.

•  Running on a zero budget: Registry continue to maintain financial viability by achieving 100% recoveries and operating as a non-profit department.

•  Absorbing the inter-campus courier contract and running the service in-house.

•  Continuing to maintain high levels of service despite a reduction of staff from 61 to 26 since 2004.

•  Entering into agreements with other departments for minimal service fees to provide essential/critical services.

Registrar Mr Convy Baloyi is proud of the team’s efforts and values their dedication to the University.

Frankland, who completed her BA degree at UKZN, has more than 20 years’ experience managing service-oriented centres. She is acknowledged for her ability to troubleshoot issues by evaluating and assessing environments and making the necessary changes to increase operational efficiencies.

Frankland said: ‘Registry has focused on standardising operations to function as one unit to improve service delivery to five campuses in response to UKZN policies. This was achieved mostly through the continuous maintenance of the Registry automated system (the Mail Tracker) which helps to connect and network the UKZN community to Registry services and sees new users being loaded every day!’

According to Frankland, a major contributing factor to the Department’s success story is that many staff members have graduated with degrees and diplomas, especially on the Pietermaritzburg campus. ‘The current supervisor started off as a temporary driver who worked half day. Over the last decade Mr Wonderboy Makhaye has not only worked his way up to Registry Supervisor but has also obtained a Community Development Diploma and graduated this year with a BA and is currently studying towards his BCom Honours degree with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. We are exceptionally proud of his achievements and his continued business input into the Registry environment.’

The following staff achievements were also highlighted: 

•  Mrs Sharon Bessell completed the grueling 3-day Sani2C.

•  Mr Wonderboy Makhaye and Mrs Tammy Frankland completed undergraduate degrees and have been accepted for honours degrees.

•  Miss Nana Ngcobo gave birth to a bouncing baby boy in March and is completing her BA degree in June this year.

The Registry Department faces many challenges, including restructuring and their public image. ‘One of the continuing challenges in Registry is to change people’s negative perceptions of Registry from that of thinking about us as purely a post office, to that of an efficient team of people who do a lot with very little,’ she said.

-          Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

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Humanities Student Attends United Nations Conference

Humanities Student Attends United Nations Conference
Ms Rejoice Mabhena at the Bayern Model United Nations Conference in Germany.

Masters student in Development Studies Ms Rejoice Mabhena attended the three-day Bayern Model United Nations Conference (BayernMUN) in Neuendettelsau during her six-month stay in Germany on an exchange programme organised by the Development Studies discipline.

BayernMUN is a Model United Nations Conference that offers challenging topics and an environment conducive to professional negotiations including the opportunity for those attending to prove their skills to recruiters and to find a job! 

It offers a unique Model UN experience by allowing university students to work and negotiate together representing the diplomatic interest of a chosen country in a large committee, thus helping them develop effective teamwork and self-confidence in negotiations with large groups of delegates.

It also assists students to understand the Rules of Procedure of the United Nations and prepares them to give speeches in front of a large committee.

The title of the 2014 BayernMUN Conference – attended by more than 90 delegates – was: “Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism”.

Mabhena said: ‘During one of the activities, I represented South Sudan which is Africa’s youngest country. The main objective was to formulate a draft resolution and it involved a lot of speeches, debates, negotiations and alliances between countries represented at the Conference.’

Mabhena said the Conference was informative and educational, ‘It was a great experience interacting with other students from across the globe.’

 -   Melissa Mungroo

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Research Collaborations between Bournemouth University and UKZN Explored

Research Collaborations between Bournemouth University and UKZN Explored
Dr Ven Tauringana of Bournemouth University with UKZN’s Professor Lesley Stainbank.

Dr Ven Tauringana of Bournemouth University in England was hosted by the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance recently in order to establish international linkages through research collaboration and staff and student exchanges with UKZN.

During his visit, Tauringana - an Associate Professor of Accounting at Bournemouth and Director of Research for the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics at the University’s Business School, engaged with the leadership of the College’s Schools, staff, and undergraduate, honours and masters students.

Tauringana said the idea for cementing strategic partnerships in the teaching and learning area with UKZN arose when he got the opportunity to network with Professor Lesley Stainbank at a conference in Uganda last year.

‘When we spoke about ways of enhancing the profile of UKZN we came up with the idea of the sharing of practices and collaboration… hence my visit. After doing research on the University through the web, I discovered it is a reputable institution,’ said Tauringana.

‘Now that I have seen the facilities and resources available to staff and students, I am confident that this partnership will benefit both universities, especially when it comes to research.’

With his research interests concentrated in the areas of corporate governance, voluntary disclosures and their consequences, working capital management and environmental reporting, Tauringana also took the opportunity to deliver a research seminar titled: “The Effect of DEFRA guidance on Greenhouse Gases Disclosure in the UK”. 

The research aims to assess whether companies had increased their reporting of Green House Gases (GHG) which have a negative effect on the environment.

‘We all know what has been happening in the UK with climate change as we had no winter this year and we have had the worst flooding in 200 years. Once a company admits how much GHG it’s emitting into the environment it will help environmental agencies to put pressure on the companies to reduce the GHG they release,’ said Tauringana.

The presentation, which included elements of Accounting, Economics and Law, created a platform for discussion among academics and produced suggestions on areas of multidisciplinary research as Tauringana has expressed interest in applying the research to South Africa.

-   Thandiwe Jumo

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The Cost of AIDS in the Private Sector

The Cost of AIDS in the Private Sector
Mr Gavin George.

The private sector in South Africa is investing heavily in training of employees but how much of this investment is lost because of deaths due to HIV/AIDS?

While there has been empirical work that provides estimates on the cost of AIDS to business, there is very little data on the actual amounts large companies spend on training, and how much this investment is eroded as a result of AIDS deaths.

This spurred a recent HEARD study in which Mr Gavin George, Mr Gavin Surgey and Mr Jeff Gow looked at the effect of HIV on private sector investment in employee training and development in South Africa.

Using an estimate of the AIDS death rate in the private sector and survey data tracking training expenditure by sector, the loss for companies was estimated at US$1,183,661 a year. This represented 0.73% of the actual investment in training. This, however, does not take into account the real costs of AIDS on business, which includes absenteeism, declining productivity and other costs which are difficult to quantify, but are likely to significantly exceed this lost training investment.

‘HEARD has a history of working with the private sector regarding how it responds to the disease,’ said George. ‘Realising a dearth in empirical research on this subject, HEARD took a decision to look into how the disease impacts companies’ investment in their employees training and development. This paper has already been sent to the South African Business Coalition of HIV and AIDS (SABCOHA) and they plan to distribute the findings at various forums that are directed at business in South Africa.’

The study’s findings were recently published in the South African Journal of Economics and Management Sciences and suggest that efforts need to be made to create awareness in companies of the potential impact of HIV and AIDS on their companies and to create an understanding of why a proactive response is not only a responsible response, but also a response that makes good business sense. 

Support to companies to either offer HIV and AIDS services within or to partner with institutions or link to government treatment programmes that are able to assist them in this regard is vital. The article concludes by suggesting it is important for companies to put in place effective HIV prevention strategies and AIDS treatment initiatives to minimise the loss of this investment.

A total of 150 companies were surveyed which included the top 100 listed companies and top 25 unlisted companies in South Africa. Costs are calculated by determining the number of employees who would be lost due to AIDS using the mean of an upper and lower-bound death rate and multiplying it by the unit cost of the training.

Prevalence is taken as being proportional to AIDS deaths.  The upper-bound death rate of a company was therefore determined by the number of deaths as a result of AIDS nationally within a given year against the 15 – 49 (working age) national population in that same year.

The lower-bound rate was calculated by dividing the private sector prevalence by the national prevalence and multiplying it against the calculated upper-bound death rate. Prevalence studies were conducted between 2000 and 2006 so it was felt that this represented an underestimate of what prevalence would have been across companies currently (hence its selection as the lower-bound rate).

The researchers are currently investigating the epidemiological and economic benefits of rolling out medical male circumcision within the private sector.

-   Shela McCullough and Thandiwe Jumo

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UKZN Targets Top Pupils in Port Shepstone Region

UKZN Targets Top Pupils in Port Shepstone Region
UKZN Liaison Officer Ms Sarda Pillay addressed top pupils in Port Shepstone.

UKZN hosted an Information Day aimed at top Grade 12 learners in and around Port Shepstone on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

About 120 learners braved the wet weather to attend the event during which professional services staff from the University’s Colleges of Health Sciences and Law and Management Studies provided the youngsters with information to assist in making informed career choices.

Students from a variety of high schools were able to find out more about the various degrees offered in each of the Colleges and also about how to apply to attend UKZN next year.

The UKZN team encouraged students to work hard and to aim for higher than the required marks needed for certain degrees because of stiff competition for places at UKZN.

‘We receive thousands of applications for places to study through the Colleges but only a few hundred get chosen,’ UKZN Schools Liaison Officer Mrs Sarda Pillay told the pupils.

-                      Nombuso Dlamini

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The UKZN Griot. Of Publishing and Perishing

The UKZN Griot.  Of Publishing and Perishing

Keyan G Tomaselli*

‘Publish or perish.’  This term has been around for a long time.  Yet, even today, the many who do not publish, do not perish.   Their lack of publication productivity units (PUs) may be punished in one way or another, but nothing that the CCMA can’t handle.

The digital age, however, sees new threats in every PC, as scamsters across the world, especially in Pakistan, China and India develop the new 419 model that rips off inexperienced academic authors desperate for publication.  South Africans have been largely shielded from these conning publishers, a clear benefit of this otherwise flawed regulation and reward mechanism.

“Predatory publishers” are creatures of the Net, lurking in the dark deep spaces, prowling through conference programmes, and appropriating email addresses from university websites.  They prey on academics, students, anyone who needs immediate “refereed” publication – for appointment, tenure, resource, promotional and PU purposes.

These often unsuspecting individuals are hunted down and sent beguiling personalised invitations to submit papers to journals with improbable and grammatically incorrect titles – e.g. Journal of Advance Research or the International Journal of Science and Technologe. Naïve authors with deep pockets are promised immediate review (i.e. within 48 hours),  referees can be suggested (e.g. Mom and Pop, a neighbour), and publication within the month, while self-plagiarisation is encouraged i.e. just submit one of your own already published papers, or take a published article written by someone else and put your name on it, or mix-‘n-match from a variety of separately authored studies appropriated from legitimate journals and substitute your name for author/s of the originals.

Cutting and pasting from the Net is the new norm.  There are thousands of these titles to submit to, with individual phishers listing up to 300 on a single web page.

Predatory journals’ websites are typified, like 419 letters, with grammatical errors, misspellings and appeals to one’s venal side.  And, like 419s, they often work.  The sites and titles, even layout, are often cloned from legitimate journals, so don’t be fooled when Stephen Hawkings purportedly personally invites you to submit a paper on any topic under the sun to a dodgy journal with which he is claimed to be associated.

Authors are invited to join unlisted august editorial boards by editors who provide only a first fake name.  These phishing exercises work on economies of scale – they list up to 300 open access titles just waiting to ensure that your article in any discipline will offer one the next-best-thing to celebrity status.  These mega publishing outlets are run from untraceable IP addresses, fake P.O. Boxes, and rundown store fronts in places no-one has ever heard of.  But they do sport real bank accounts.  Maybe you are on the board of a journal you never heard of? If so, pay up.

The key to publication in this model is that readers do not have to pay for access, but that authors have to pay for acceptance.  The claim made by these open access journals is that they will attract readers and citations. This is the “gold” author-pays model, not to be confused with the South African system of page charges.  The fees can be upwards of USD 3 000 per paper but might be waived for authors from poorer countries.   Fear not, the publisher will have stolen your copyright and sell it onwards to other desperate authors who think they’ve been approached by a kindly uncle in the third hand article business. 

‘But there’s more’,  as one genre of direct TV selling goes, your paper will be entered into a lottery draw for a free annual membership of a chimerical disciplinary association that is managed by the same phishing publishing procurer.  Or, authors will be invited to conferences scheduled for places like Oxford.  What more could an author want?:  fame, recognition, and disciplinary status.  What is delivered, however, is impaired reputation, discreditation and loss of self-esteem when one realises that one has been scammed.

But again, this can be a bonus where university HR divisions fail to check out the CVs of applicants who proudly list scam journals amongst their academic output.  These journals manufacture their own impact factors and one or two even get accepted by key indexes. You can fool some of the people all of the time.

The delights of open access and Internet piracy have to be negotiated by wary authors.  But there’s hope.  Like Spiderman, Superman and Batman, there is a site that exposes the open access con artists, the opportunists, one that brings exposés thrice weekly to my inbox of new scams, new phishing techniques and new incomprehensible journal titles. The latter enter my inbox on a daily basis.

The exposé site is called Scholarly Open Access edited by librarian Jeff Beall.  Beall has a very thick skin – he fends off threats of legal action all the time.  He does this in his personal capacity and protects the rest of us from mendacity, stupidity and fraud.  He exposes titles, websites, and editors, when they can be identified. One such at a known Texas institution is editor or associate editor of over 100 journals and he is on the editorial board of many more – clearly the man does not sleep.  Most editors who are listed are given fake CVs, indeed, these CVs may even proudly claim that they lack qualifications.   Hey, the NRF A-raters, do check whether or not your mug shot has been (mis)appropriated.

In the pressure to publish, novice authors fail to check these titles, to study back issues or to do any research into the very vehicles that hold their careers hostage.  They become victims of their own carelessness and impatience. They become part of the problem;  they pay, published and perish.

* Keyan G Tomaselli is editor of two journals, none of which to his knowledge have yet been cloned.  Check out

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the author’s own.

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Medical Education Partnership Initiative Site Visit

Medical Education Partnership Initiative Site Visit
Speakers at the Medical Education Partnership Initiative site visit (from left) Professor Joseph Kolars, Ms Rehmeth Fakroodeen, Dr Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Professor Umesh Lalloo and Dr Myat Htoo Razak.

The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which awarded a grant to UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, has completed its annual three-day site visit at K-RITH.

MEPI is funded by the United States government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and PEPFAR.  There are 13 beneficiaries in Africa, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, who receive PEPFAR support to help develop and boost models of medical education.

MEPI is responsible for the Enhancing Training, Research and Education Strategy (The ENTRÉE) introduced at UKZN.  The initiative has an undergraduate, postgraduate and faculty component to accelerate the educational programme so that when MEPI withdraws the activities continue.

The vision of MEPI is aligned to that of the National Department of Health - a long and healthy life for all South Africans. The initiative provides leadership in the focused areas of KwaZulu-Natal and its goals and objectives are seen within UKZN as projects imbedded in Clinical Medicine, Nursing and Public Health, Health Sciences and Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.

Professor Umesh Lalloo, Communicating Principal Investigator for the MEPI programme as well as a Professor, Chief Specialist, and Head of the Respiratory and Critical Care Unit at UKZN and the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, said: ‘MEPI funded the training of 509 nurses in Nurse Initiated Management of Antiretroviral Therapy (NiMART) between 2011 – 2013.

‘We also hope to strengthen the basic epidemiological skills of Nursing undergraduate students by introducing a module in the programme so that students learn the skills to analyse and solve the community problems when undertaking their research projects.

‘With the assistance of MEPI’s United States partner, Columbia University, the Discipline of Nursing has introduced HIV case studies to the Nursing students.  These have helped to strengthen the Nursing curriculum and will keep students engaged for years to come,’ said Lalloo.

Dr Myat Htoo Razak, Programme Director of MEPI at the NIH, said the NIH and the site visit team reviewed the progress of MEPI activities and provided support to overcome any obstacles and challenges hindering attainment of MEPI goals. ‘The ultimate goal of MEPI is to provide a direct support of informative models of medical education in sub-Saharan Africa by strengthening clinical and research capacity.’

Director of the MEPI Co-ordinating Centre at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Dr Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, said: ‘In a review of progress for 2010 – 2013, MEPI has improved the medical education and training curricula, along with enhancing the community-based training sites. Strengthening of ICTs and the research capacity building has also resulted from improved faculty recruitment, training and retention. With increased support from Ministries of Health and Education, the collaboration between the world and South Africa has grown.’

MEPI schools are based all over Africa, including at the University of Stellenbosch and at UKZN. MEPI is establishing and strengthening partnerships between African, United States and other institutes in order to transfer skills, capacity and research collaboration to support communities of practice. MEPI allows institutes to share and contribute rather than compete.

MEPI-funded institutions such as UKZN are leading curricula development and quality improvement activities at the Institution and beyond the funded network.

Public Health Specialist for Health Systems Strengthening at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Gypsum (USG) Corporation, Ms Rehmeth Fakroodeen, spoke at the gathering on PEPFAR’s Human Resources for Health (HRH) strategy in South Africa. ‘Health systems need to be strengthened in order to provide sustainable services, and with PEPFAR having 15 focus countries, their vision is to distribute health workers to meet HIV and other health needs as well as to improve the management and development of HRIS.’ Fakroodeen went on to explain that the strengthening of pre-service education institutes would improve the quality and output of graduates.

Professor Joseph Kolars of the University of Michigan and a MEPI consultant, spoke on how to make medical education accountable to society under the title: “Does Better Medical Education Lead to Better Medical Health?”

‘Unfortunately, much of our work hasn’t been designed to answer this,’ said Kolars. ‘There has been a major movement in Medical Health in the USA. We need to ask ourselves, what can we expect doctors to do and how do we know that we can do it? Traditional education models and competency based education models need to be designed explicitly to make an impact. What matters isn’t what you’re teaching, but what people are learning.’

He said with technology changing the education landscape, there was a much greater emphasis on direct learning. With aspects like MOOCs – Massive Open Online Classes - certain universities now had online courses available free of charge for students. Students are now also required to have portfolios to show their experiences and what they’ve learned. ‘Accountable education is about being more attentive.’

Razak explained the difference between the work MEPI was doing at UKZN and that at Stellenbosch. ‘There are many similarities, but also many differences. While both institutes do a lot of rural work, UKZN has a reputation of not only focusing on its work with rural communities but also emphasising teaching and research intensely. The Institute is focused on improving their teaching methods and are constantly working on new projects which have set a high standard for other African countries.

‘They’re leading the way through making innovative decisions that prove to make a vital difference. It’s always very impressive and I feel that with research institutes like CAPRISA and K-RITH, MEPI can also contribute to some of the great research and teaching that is coming out of UKZN,’ said Razak.

-        Zakia Jeewa

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